A new study shows increasing public support for the authority of local school boards. The Michigan State University study looked at national public opinion surveys during the last few decades.
Rebecca Jacobsen led the study. She says it was surprising since so many policy experts dismiss local school boards as an obstacle to improving education.
“I was really surprised that that wasn’t how the people felt. I would have expected that given the widespread dismissal of school boards in the policy world that people were thinking the same thing. And yet there was a surprising amount of favor shown to the local school boards,” Jacobsen says.
“People are still really attached to the idea that there’s somebody that will hear them and listen to them when they go in and talk about what’s going on in my particular school and my community. And those things are often tied together: my community and my school.”
Since the eighties federal and state governments have taken a larger role in education through laws like No Child Left Behind and Michigan’s graduation requirements.
The report says a significant portion of the public has become less inclined to trust federal and state governments to improve education by looking at public opinion surveys from the last few decades. But most people do think government has a role in setting standards and guaranteeing equity.